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ORU Loses Late Lead, Falls to Buffalo in Five Sets

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 08/25/2012
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Tatum Fredeen led ORU with 18 kills
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Leading the fifth set, 13-7, Oral Roberts University looked poised to claim a five-set victory over Buffalo on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the UB Invitational. But the host Bulls rallied, winning the match’s final eight points to take the decisive set, 15-13, and steal a 3-2 victory at Alumni Arena.

Buffalo won by scores of 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, and 15-13.

Liz Scott led the Bulls (2-1) with 25 kills, while Dana Musil added 15 blasts to go with a team-best 19 digs. Buffalo outhit the Golden Eagles, .199 to .164.

Tatum Fredeen paced ORU (2-1) with 18 kills and posted a .406 hitting percentage, while freshman Sadie Schaffner posted 12 kills, a high mark for her young ORU career.

Defensively, Bruna Silva led all players with 24 digs, while Jessica Pancratz added eight blocks, including a solo effort. 

ORU came out sluggishly, as a kill by Tahleia Bishop gave the home side an 8-1 lead with a first set kill. But the Golden Eagles rallied, and a Pancratz kill capped a 4-0 run to tie the set at 14-all. ORU took their first lead on a kill by Sheina Fernandes to make the score 18-17, and they took the set, 25-23, on another Pancratz kill that capped the huge comeback.

The Golden Eagles fell behind in the second set, 3-0, before a rash of Buffalo errors keyed a 5-1 ORU run that gave the visitors an 11-8 lead. ORU continued to build their lead, with a Joana Gruber kill stretching the advantage to 19-13.

But Musil answered with back-to-back kills that started a set-closing 12-2 run for the home team. ORU fell apart down the stretch, committing attack errors on the set’s final three points to fall, 25-21.

Buffalo scored the first two points of the pivotal third set, getting kills from Musil and Scott. The Bulls held a slim lead throughout before a Gruber kill capped a miniature run that tied the set at 19.

But the hosts closed the set on a 6-1 run, including two ORU errors on the final two points, to take the lead with a 25-20 victory.

The fourth set started with ORU in command, as Pancratz registered a kill on the first two points and Fredeen smacked a blast that stretched the lead to 10-4. The Bulls would pull even at 18-all on an ORU attack error, but Schaffner won the momentum back for the Golden Eagles with a kill that gave ORU a 22-20 lead. That sparked a set-closing 4-0 run, and an Olivia Opus service ace gave ORU a 25-20 win and forced a decisive fifth set.

Schaffner struck again on the first exchange of the fifth set, smoking a kill to give ORU an important early lead. The freshman came through with two more late kills as part of a 4-0 run that gave the Golden Eagles a 13-7 lead and put the visitors on the brink of victory.

But Buffalo responded with six straight points, capped by a Scott kill, to tie the set at 13-all and force an ORU timeout. The break didn’t stall ORU’s descent. Musil racked up a kill on the first point after the stoppage, and an ORU attack error gave Buffalo a 15-13 fifth set win, giving the home team a stunning victory.

Silva and Fernandes took All-Tournament honors for the Golden Eagles.

ORU returns to the court on Thursday, when they face Missouri State as part of the adidas Invitational in Springfield, Mo.
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